Published On: Mon, Mar 23rd, 2015

Antigua reacts to U.S. money laundering allegations – Curaçao also mentioned

The other Caribbean territories cited in the report are: The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Curaçao and the Dominican Republic.

moneylaudringThe Antigua and Barbuda government said Friday that U.S. claims about the country’s vulnerability to money laundering practices are “arbitrary.”

“These categorizations by the U.S. State Department are arbitrary; they are compiled by unseen hands; and the criteria by which they are reached is a mystery,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in a statement.

Browne reacted to Washington’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report for 2015, which identifies Antigua and Barbuda and seven other Caribbean territories as “jurisdictions of primary concern for money laundering.”

The other Caribbean territories cited in the report are: The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Curaçao and the Dominican Republic.

Browne said the report damages the image of small countries such as his, which the State Department deemed susceptible to drug trafficking and the Internet gaming industry.

“Categorization of this kind by a U.S. government department does reputational damage to a jurisdiction that is difficult to repair, particularly in the case of small countries”, the prime minister said.

In Antigua and Barbuda, “there are few successful investigations, prosecutions and convictions” for money laundering, the U.S. report said.

The prime minister pointed out that Antigua enacted new anti-money laundering legislation last year and devoted more resources to financial regulation and enforcement.

Browne said he would write to the U.S. government to ask for evidence to support the claims in the State Department document.

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